So Jamaica was fun. Riding round in route taxis, generally causing trouble with Mike Carter, ending up getting shot full of antibiotics by Dr Dan, and a good day spent rafting down a river.
Then, back to sailing – the small matter of trying to get to New York. The weather really let us down on this one. We were back to the oh so familiar games of drifting around, trying to find distraction and entertainment, and and making the most of the occasional puff of wind that came our way.
I came to the conclusion when we were first having a slow passage through the Doldrums in the Atlantic many months previously, that extended life on a boat is only bearable if there is a sense of purpose. Repetitive shifts around the clock, and an absence of external drama or distraction can lead to extensive periods of boredom. Not that there is ever a shortage of tasks and jobs to do. Checks, maintenance, repairs, cleaning; the list goes on. However, even these tasks become monotonous, especially when you’ve been doing them on the same boat for nearly 10 months. So a sense of purpose is required. Whether this is getting from A-B with good company and few drinks, or sailing competitively, it gives everything a focus. For this reason, when that focus is taken away or is unachievable, everything goes out of the window.
This is what we suffered on the way to New York. A total lack of wind meant we were drifting rather than sailing, so the competitive aspect is largely diminished, at least temporarily, but lest the focus fall too far from competition, all the other normal distractions such as alcohol, reading, and general messing around on boats can’t come into play. So you’re in limbo, only able to wait until wind and weather become more favourable. On the bright side, we spent a week drifting to wonderful sunsets.
We eventually cracked on the engine and drove ourselves to an area of wind, as the drifting was starting to get a bit of hand. A day or two of good downwind sailing on the approach to NYC was had, and we arrived into the Hudson River in darkness, with a spectacular city skyline as our backdrop.